21 June, 2009

in honor of the first day of summer...

I'm finally going to post some spring pics. What can I say, timeliness is not one of my virtues. The top one is my favorite b/c I didn't think Mr. Bee would come out as anything but a blur. When I uploaded the pic to the computer, I was thrilled!

If you want to see a few fall and winter pics, I just updated my flickr photostream. (I figure posting winter pics on June 21st would just be too pathetic, even for me!)

Uh, Happy Summer!

19 April, 2009

M-O-O-N spells moon

I have always had trouble taking any worthwhile pictures of our beloved satellite, but with a few tips I picked up, I had some (very) moderate success.

I like the spookiness of the B&W.

But I also like the true color here, and the branch is a nice touch.

With the aid of my trusty photoshop, I was able to create a more artistic rendering.

And again. This one is my favorite, evocative and moody.

I know I'm not around much these days. Work and, of course, life-in-general, haven't left me much time or energy for my hobbies lately. Hopefully I will post more regularly soon, I'm just not sure yet when "soon" will be. If you're still checking in on me, I thank you!

29 March, 2009

hell hath no fury like... uh, hail

Here are some cool pics from the major hailstorm we had last week.

B took these as it was happening:

And these just after it stopped:

I took these when I got home from work (almost 2 hours later!!):

And these the next morning:

There was still hail on the ground over 15 hours later!

17 March, 2009

Ní hé lá na gaoithe lá na scolb.

That's an Irish proverb, meaning "A windy day is not the day to be fixing your thatch (roof)." (If google is to be trusted, that is.) Sounds like good advice to me. In honor of St. Patrick's Day, I'm putting up the following recipe, but just a warning/apology: I sent this exact thing out by email last year, so if you got it then, you've already seen it. But not everyone will have gotten it then (and I didn't make anything this year) so I'm posting it. Plus, it's totally repeat-worthy!


While chocolate cake may not spring to mind as a particularly Irish dish, this one has Guinness in it, which is Irish enough for me! It is truly delectable - moist, rich, not too sweet.

Bon Appétit September 2002
Servings: Makes 12 servings.
My notes are in green (but of course).

(** I halved the entire recipe and used two 9-inch cake pans. What's below is the original recipe, though, so adjust accordingly depending on how much cake you want. **)



2 cups stout (such as Guinness) (which is what I used)
2 cups (4 sticks) unsalted butter
1 1/2 cups unsweetened cocoa powder (The recipe actually says Dutch-process cocoa is best, but I used my regular Ghiradelli unsweetened cocoa powder and it was fine.)
4 cups all purpose flour
4 cups sugar
1 tablespoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
4 large eggs
1 1/3 cups sour cream


2 cups whipping cream
1 pound bittersweet (not unsweetened) or semisweet chocolate, chopped (I used Ghiradelli bittersweet chips)

For cake:
Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter three 8-inch round cake pans with 2-inch-high sides. Line with parchment paper. Butter paper. (I just coated my pans with baking spray, nothing else, and they were fine.) Bring 2 cups stout and 2 cups butter to simmer in heavy large saucepan over medium heat. Add cocoa powder and whisk until mixture is smooth. Cool slightly. Whisk flour, sugar, baking soda, and 1 1/2 teaspoons salt in large bowl to blend. Using electric mixer, beat eggs and sour cream in another large bowl to blend. Add stout-chocolate mixture to egg mixture and beat just to combine. Add flour mixture and beat briefly on slow speed. Using rubber spatula, fold batter until completely combined. Divide batter equally among prepared pans. Bake cakes until tester inserted into center of cakes comes out clean, about 35 minutes. Transfer cakes to rack; cool 10 minutes. Turn cakes out onto rack and cool completely.

For icing:
Bring cream to simmer in heavy medium saucepan. Remove from heat. Add chopped chocolate and whisk until melted and smooth. Refrigerate until icing is spreadable, stirring frequently, about 2 hours. Place 1 cake layer on plate. Spread 2/3 cup icing over. Top with second cake layer. Spread 2/3 cup icing over. Top with third cake layer. Spread remaining icing over top and sides of cake. (** I put raspberry preserves in between the layers instead, then spread the ganache over the top and sides. **)

15 March, 2009

13 February, 2009

love is for suckers

What did you think I meant?

Have a Happy Valentine's Day!

04 February, 2009

short and sweet sour HUTAS* rant

If you are going 50 mph in a 65 mph zone for no discernable reason, I am going to tailgate your ass, and I don't care if you're in the right lane. Pull your head out, hang up your phone, or get off the highway!

This post brought to you by the letters P, M and S.

* HUTAS = Head Up The Ass Syndrome. I made it up, but so did a bunch of other people. pfft